Benefits and Fruits of Meditation

Meditation gives rise to benefits and fruits for the person who meditates and for society as a whole. The benefits refer to the practical, pragmatic gains that flow from the practice while the fruits refer to the deeper inner flourishing that ultimately transforms the person who meditates. As we have seen, although it had its origins in the wisdom traditions of the religions of the world, many people first hear about the practice through the popularity of mindfulness. Meditation is a key practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness acknowledges that in a very busy and frantic world we all need a break from external noise and stress. As we have seen, sitting in silence makes us keenly aware of all the internal noise and reducing that helps to restore us to harmony. Meditation practice makes that possible.

There is now a substantial international evidence base reporting the benefits and complexities of meditation programs in schools. Much of this evidence has been collated in a comprehensive scoping review undertaken by the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University, Australia, on behalf of the WCCM. The full evidence review can be accessed by clicking on the image to the right.

For a short infographic summary capturing some key findings click here. Both of these documents, which were  published in May 2020, make a significant contribution to our understanding of the lasting benefits and fruits of meditation for children.

Further information on the work of the Centre for Children and Young People at SCU on meditation in schools is available here.

The Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are well proven through more than 40 years of research. Meditation helps to reduce blood pressure and improve the immune system. It lessens stress and improves decision making and problem-solving. It gives rise to better concentration and improves your capacity to pay attention. And it leads to an improved sense of well-being and greater emotional stability. Many young people find that meditation helps them through challenging times – through the uncertainties of adolescence and particularly at significant occasions such as final exams and career choices. To learn what children said about the benefits of mediotation click the image on the right.

The Fruits of Meditation

The fruits of meditation are experienced as a deepening awareness of the inner dimension of the person and as human flourishing. They are, ultimately, spiritual fruits because meditation has the capacity to change our way of seeing and being in the world. Meditation develops our capacity for spiritual knowing: we discover through meditation that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, and that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. Meditation gives rise to deep, rich personal spiritual experience. We come to understand that we need two lenses for reading reality, for interpreting our experience fully, that conceptual knowledge must be complemented by spiritual knowledge. Meditation ntegrates the different ways of reading reality of the left and right hemispheres of the brain and moves the centre of gravity of the person from the head to the heart. Through meditation we begin to awaken to the language of the heart, the language of silence. Spiritual knowledge is intuitive, it arises from being calmly present to reality and it requires no mental processing. Meditation clarifies the truth of our personal faith experience. 

While the fruits of meditation will in time be experienced in one’s daily living, they do not manifest as rewarding subjective experiences during every time of meditation. The place to look for results is not in what happens during meditation, but after; and not immediately afterwards,  but in the longer term, in how we live our lives more authentically. The fruits of meditation show up in our relationships. Often we greet our friends by asking, ‘How is the world treating you?’ But how often do we ask ‘How are you treating the world?’ Meditation makes us keenly aware of how we are treating the world and how this impacts our relationships and all that we do. It gives rise to more authentic living, to more compassionate, responsive action for the good of all. We become like the Good Samaritan, responsive, not reactive.To find out how the children described the fruits of meditation click the image on the right.

Together with WCCM, Christian Meditation Ireland has developed a leaflet exploring Meditation & Spirituality in a Secular Age. It suggests that spirituality is a vital, foundational element of what it means to be human, whether a person engages with that dynamism on religious or secular terms. It argues that spiritual knowledge is not irrational but trans-rational; that spiritual knowledge is not merely a psychological insight but an experiential insight into one’s participation in Being itself. Ultimately, meditation is the process in which we take time to allow ourselves to become aware of our infinite potential.

Meditation is the process in which we take time to allow ourselves
to become aware of our infinite potential.